The key to storytelling is in the giving, not the getting
Presentation lessons from Steve Martin's autobiography

Advancing the narrative through first person interviews

March 11, 2015 marks four years since our brothers and sisters up in Tohoku (northeast Japan) experienced the devastating impact of not one, but three disasters. In the past I have pointed to short films made by filmmakers Jeffrey Jousan, Ivan Kovac, and Paul Johannessen, such as in this piece Storytelling that grabs the heart as well as the head. And in this piece Storytelling, POV, & the power of first-person narrative. Today, as a way of commemorating the Tohoku disaster and remembering the great struggle that people face in such places as Ishinomaki, please take a look at a followup film below. In this example too there is no narration. Moving a narrative forward through the thoughtful compilation of first person interviews has long been one of my favorite documentary storytelling styles. This is a very interesting, provocative, and evocative film.

Then and Now facebook page


I agree that first-person stories are incredibly captivating and a powerful way to understand complex situations. I would point out Haruki Murakami's book "Underground," which looks at the sarin gas attack in Tokyo through the eyes of people riding the subway that day, and members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult that perpetrated the attack. The stories are laid out without commentary, and build on each other until a deep, three dimensional picture is created in the reader's mind. I can't think of a better way to try to explain the inexplicable.


Thanks for the book suggestion. Murakami's book looks very interesting indeed. Just ordered it. Thanks very much!

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